Tunnel Rat

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 23, 2018

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Submitted: August 23, 2018

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Tunnel Rat-

My name is Harold Klark. I am a a fifty-three year old war veteran who served as an infantrymen in the war thirty years ago. I was one of the unlucky bastards to be chosen as what most people commonly referred to as a ‘tunnel rat’. It was my job to go in to those dingy holes and flush out any enemy troops or to dismantle the whole system.

It was awful work. Dark as shit with a barely functioning flashlight helping you see no more than a few feet in front of your face. You're in constantly cramped quarters under the crushing weight of pounds of soil ready to crush you, with the air being so thick it was practically impossible to breathe. Not to mention the constant fear of traps the bastards could've left down there. From explosives, spikes, venomous snakes, and even flooded rooms. What I wouldn't give to not have been in those god forsaken places. Man was not meant to live like worms. However, I would gladly go in a thousand more if it meant not having to remember that one day, that one day of fucking hell.

It started out like any other, We were tasked to take out an objective on the far end of the jungle that would give us a highly advantageous position should it be captured. The problem was, like usual, a series of tunnels that stretched across various infiltration points. We merely had to set the charges in the central room of the tunnels, make it out, and blow the whole thing to smithereens. It should've been a standard operation, should've been the same shit as always. But it wasn't normal, not right by any stretch of the imagination.

It started with the all too familiar shaking, something one quickly gets accustomed down in those depths, but it was soon followed by the sound all soldiers knew to fear, The cracking of ceiling above, something that signifies a quick death if you were lucky. I didn't even have a moment to panic before everything went dark.  In seconds it was pitch black and I was suffocating, my body stuck in the soil. In times like that, all you could do was remember the good times, and try to push back the realization your last moments were going to be buried alive in th middle of nowhere, far away from friends and family. But once more I heard the cracking of the ground shifting, and felt myself plunging deeper into the earth.

Unfortunately I had merely plunged into another tunnel, but something wasn't quite right. I don't know what it was, but everything felt..wrong. The dirt around was disgustingly lukewarm, like mud that had been sitting in the hot sun without drying, and the air had grown from stifling, to maliciously toxic. It hurt to breathe as I sluggishly pulled myself through the mush, trying to find some semblance of natural light I could gravitate towards to pull myself out. But it was no use, the air just getting thicker and thicker, and the dirt less and less solid. Strange bones started popping out of the sludge and the air began to smell like rotting flesh. I couldn't stand to be in this place, it wasn't natural. I had never seen tunnels like these, no man could've made these, nothing human was occupying these tunnels save for the unfortunate souls that wandered in by accident; Save for me. Soon I was frantically clawing my way through the endless labyrinth, the walls seemed to be closing in on me, turning from tepid to boiling hot. I could feel my flesh slowly being scraped off my body by the movement of me sifting through the magma-like dirt . Blindly I crawled and crawled, but I couldn't bear the pain much longer. As my skin continued to rip itself apart, my fragile mind began to crack. I saw that I still had the explosive charges on my person, and in an act of crazed desperation, I set one right in front of me. I closed my eyes and waited for the inevitable sweet salvation of death, but it never came, for a piercing unholy screech shook the entire area, then everything went black.

After those moments, everything was a blur; I was found by enemy troops miles away from the locale I originated from, with bloodied torn skin and eyes glazed over. I was little more than a corpse at that point, barely holding on. I was kept in a dingy cell, wrapped up like a mummy, doing nothing but sleeping on a bug-infested bed; It was heaven. It wasn’t until we had won almost the war several months later did they negotiate my release. The one detail that sticks out the most to me was my command telling me that they found no signs of tunnels where I had been found, it was as if the earth just spit me out.

It's been three decades since then, and still I can't get that painful day out of my head. I get choked up in closed or hot spaces, and I break into a panic whenever I hear loud noises. At night I wake up in cold sweat, terror filling my every being without any discernible reason. Even healed, my skin still constantly aches with dull throbbing pain that I can never shake off. I hate living like this doctor, the pills don't work and therapy doesn't help, I haven't come here for treatment, I came here for release.

Don't look at me like that, I've done my research, this place is one of the few that has legalized euthanasia under proper circumstances, and I think this is a pretty damn good one. So give me the papers and let's begin, I can't do this one my own, I've tried so hard but I'm just not strong enough. Please doctor, help me.

 


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